The 38th edition of the NASCAR All-Star Race returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the second consecutive year Sunday evening and storylines abound on who could have the edge to snatch the $1 million winner-take-all payday.
Can Hendrick Motorsports win a third consecutive NASCAR All-Star Race? Will Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain continue to impress in his breakout season? Does William Byron offer a million reasons for a payback to Joey Logano in the all-star format? Those questions and more will be answered when the NASCAR All-Star Race begins at 7 p.m. CT (TV: FS1, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM Radio).
The NASCAR All-Star Race action begins Saturday with two practices followed by a pair of qualifying sessions. The Cup Series drivers who have not qualified for the NASCAR All-Star Race will run in The Open practice from 6-6:15 p.m. and then take part in single-lap qualifying beginning at 6:40 p.m. The all-star drivers will practice from 6:20-6:35 p.m. and then qualify beginning at 7:20 p.m. That enhanced format will be three-lap qualifying with a mandatory pit stop.
The Open will precede the NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday beginning at 5 p.m. with the three stage winners earning berths in the all-star field. A fourth driver will be added to the field via fan vote.
Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race has attracted fans from 45 states as well as Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand.
Let’s take a look at the “Fast Five” NASCAR All-Star Race storylines:
1. It’s a good thing that Texas is among the top four watermelon producers in the United States because they may need a priority same-day delivery to Texas Motor Speedway.
Ross “The Watermelon Man” Chastain has been the breakout surprise of the NASCAR Cup Series season and could be squarely in the mix for the $1 million winner-take-all payday in the NASCAR All-Star Race.
Driving for fledgling Trackhouse Racing, Chastain has recorded the first two wins of his career and owns a series-high seven top-five finishes in the first 12 races.
His wins came at the Circuit of The Americas road course (left) and Talladega Superspeedway, and each was punctuated with Chastain smashing a watermelon in celebration.
Why a watermelon you ask? Chastain is an eighth-generation watermelon farmer and his father and brother currently manage the farm – JDI Farms in Punta Gorda, Fla. – while he pursues his NASCAR dream.
Watermelon may pair well with a $1 million check.
2. Hendrick Motorsports owns a record 10 NASCAR All-Star Race victories, including the last two, and arrives at Texas Motor Speedway with some early-season momentum.
The Chevy-powered organization has won five of the first 12 races and all four drivers – Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott (right), William Byron and Alex Bowman – have at least one win. Byron leads the way with a pair.
Hendrick Motorsports also swept Texas Motor Speedway last year with Larson not only winning the NASCAR All-Star Race but also the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Playoff race in the fall. New car, same results?
3. Should Hendrick Motorsports win another NASCAR All-Star title, the historical odds are long that it will come from Larson, the defending all-star winner and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion.
In the 37-year-history of the event, only two drivers have won the all-star race in consecutive years and none after 2013. Davey Allison was the first to accomplish the feat in 1991 and ’92 and Jimmie Johnson matched it in 2012 and ’13.
Should Larson (left) become the third driver to repeat, he would tie Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon for second on the all-time list with three victories. His other all-star win came in 2019 with Chip Ganassi Racing. Johnson holds the all-star record with four wins.
4. Three drivers, including a rookie, will be making their NASCAR All-Star Race debuts as a result of winning their first career Cup races earlier the season.
Those wins, which came along with an automatic berth in the all-star event, occurred in the first six races of the NASCAR Cup Series season and each was significant in nature.
Team Penske rookie Austin Cindric (right) won the season-opening Daytona 500 to gain his berth in the all-star race. Stewart-Haas Racing driver Chase Briscoe became the 200th different driver to win a Cup race when he was victorious at Phoenix. Chastain got the first of his two wins at Circuit of The Americas, which was the inaugural Cup victory for the Trackhouse Racing organization.
5. Will the war of words possibly escalate between Byron and Team Penske’s Joey Logano (left) with no points on the line and a chance at a $1 million payday?
Byron took offense to how Logano forcible moved him out of the way when leading on the white-flag lap at Darlington. Logano’s bump-and-run gave him the victory and the contact sent Byron spiraling to a 13th-place finish.
“He’s just an idiot,” Byron said in the post-race interview. “He does this stuff all the time.”
Logano, who broke a 40-race winless drought, made it clear that it was retribution for an earlier move that Byron put on him.
“You’re not going to put me in the wall and not get anything back,” Logano said. “That’s how that works.”
Stay tuned. Fans may not have to wait until postrace to see fireworks.
Texas Motor Speedway will once again play host to the $1 million-to-win NASCAR All-Star Race, the marquee event of a race weekend (May 20-22) featuring all three of NASCAR’s premier series. The SpeedyCash.com 220 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will be held Friday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. (FS1, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, MRN, and 95.9 The Ranch) and the SRS Distribution 250 Xfinity Series race on Saturday, May 21, at 12:30 p.m. (FS1, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, PRN, and 95.9 The Ranch). Both will be televised live on FS1 and aired locally on 95.9 The Ranch. The NASCAR Open will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 (FS1, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, MRN, and 95.9 The Ranch) and the NASCAR All-Star Race at 7 p.m. (FS1, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, MRN, and 95.9 The Ranch).
Country music superstar Blake Shelton will perform a live concert Sunday beginning at 5:30 p.m. as part of the NASCAR All-Star pre-race festivities.
Tickets for this weekend’s NASCAR All-Star Race Weekend are on sale now at https://www.
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